NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino released his weekly video focusing on rules clarifications and instant replay (video download) Here’s a wrap up of his comments:
- As we covered on Sunday, during the game between St. Louis and Seattle last Sunday, St. Louis very clearly fumbled the ball at midfield. As soon as this happens, Umpire Fred Bryan throws the beanbag to designate the fumble occurred, but now we need to know who has clear possession since a pile up occurred before any player had clear possession. Turns out, St. Louis recovered as signaled by Brad Allen. However, since we were inside the final 2-minutes, the replay official quickly reviewed to see if a) a fumble did occur and b) was there clear evidence of a recovery in the video. Since the ball disappears in the video, it defaults to the call that was made on the field (St. Louis had recovered the ball). The only comment Blandino made was that perhaps Allen could have made an announcement to offer clarity, but ultimately the correct call was made.
- Although it was during Week 8, Instant Replay was discussed from a play during the Thursday Night game between the Chargers at Broncos in Denver. Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell received the kick from the Chargers, but as he was going down, the ball came loose. By rule, a player is down by contact when any part of the body other than the hand (wrist included) contacts the ground. Because Caldwell’s forearm touched the ground before the ball was knocked loose, the ball was placed at the spot where he went down, and was still in possession of the Broncos. Referee Terry McAulay made an incorrect announcement of the runner being down by his elbow, but ultimately the right call was administered on the field.
- From week 2: With :12 seconds left to play in the first half of the game between Seattle and San Diego, the Chargers receiver takes a knee after a kick from the Seahawks. Since the player takes a knee, one second is removed from the clock. Blandino just wanted to re-emphasize the rules that also state that if a fair catch signal is called, then no time is taken off of the clock, as is none removed from the clock if the kicking team recovers the ball with no advance.
- Instant Replay was again the focus during the Miami at Chicago game on Sunday. Chicago’s Dante Rosario fumbles the ball as he is progressing downfield, only to have it recovered by Miami’s Cortland Finnegan. During replay, the official is looking to make sure a) the Chicago offensive runner didn’t run out of bounds prior to the ball becoming loose, and b) the Miami defensive player didn’t step out of bounds and then have contact with the ball as that would leave the ball out of bounds and not in play.